2011-12 Men's Basketball Season Preview

After a 2010-11 season where the Trailblazers finished 5th in the nation, fifth year Head Coach Curtis Christopher returns to lead OCU and has his players sights focused on the elusive NCCAA National Championship. The Blazers have been on a tear over the last four seasons and have ended their season with a national tournament appearance every year since 2008. Despite winning three games at the NCCAA National Tournament last season, OCU feels as if they have unfinished business as they set out to claim their first ever NCCAA National Title during the 2011-12 campaign.

New Additions

Jamey Batten has returned to the OCU sidelines as Recruiting Coordinator and Assistant Coach. Batten, a 2001 OCU alum, returns to the Trailblazers after a four year stint at NAIA affiliate Cincinnati Christian University where he became the All-time Career Wins Leader at CCU. Greg Bryant returns to the OCU staff as the Head Coach of the JV program after serving as strength and Conditioning Coach last year.

New transfers, Milen Kostov (Temple Baptist College) and Mohamed Fall (Cincinnati Christian University), will be big contributors for the Trailblazers this season. Kostov brings a European flair to his game and a strong outside shot. Kostov scored over 20 points against OCU in a game last year as an OCU opponent. At 6'5", Fall will bring a strong post presence and perimeter game to the Trailblazer lineup. As a junior at Cincinnati Christian he averaged 14.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game while also shooting .504% from the field. His 478 points and 17 double-doubles were both team highs.

The incoming freshman class will look to make an immediate impact on the court as well. Wesley Russell (Centennial High School) will be a major contributor for OCU as he will look to use his 6'4" frame at the point guard position. Russell averaged over 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists during his senior season as he was named All-Ohio in both basketball and football. Kenny Cooper (St. Francis DeSales) will give OCU a nice dose of athleticism in the post. Cooper is a gifted athlete that brings strong defense and rebounding to the table. He uses his length and vertical leaping ability to outplay opponents. At DeSales, he averaged 10 points and 9 rebounds per game as he was named All-District.

Manny Harrison (Pickerington) and Joe Collier (Canal Winchester) will add much needed depth and size to the post position. Harrison at 6'5" and Collier at 6'6" are both gifted rebounders that have a strong presence in the paint.

Key Returners

Senior, Tirrell Cumberland returns to the OCU lineup after a dominating 2010-11 season where he tossed in 16.2 points per game. His 616 points goes down as one of top scoring seasons in school history. Senior Mike Farrell is also back after being granted a hardship from the NCCAA for a foot injury during his freshman season. Farrell averaged 9.7 points per game last year and shot .399 from three point range as he earned a reputation for being one of the best long range shooters in the nation. Senior guard, DeLorean Glanton is back for the Blazers after tallying 5.9 points per game last season. Senior, Jon Baker returns to the lineup after recovering from knee surgery last year. Jon is a well-rounded player with a high basketball IQ that understands what it takes to win.

Also returning to the Blazers this year is a strong trio of juniors including James Nelson, Josh Delph, and Anthony McDaniel. At 6'8", Nelson will be one of the biggest players in the Mid-East Region. The much improved Nelson will look to improve on last year’s number of 5.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game as he looks to carry a bigger role for the Blazers this season. Josh Delph returns as a well-rounded guard that can shoot outside and penetrate to the rim. Delph shot 50% from three point range last year and will look to have a bigger impact this season. Anthony McDaniel is a strong point guard with a solid handle that brings a big personality to the Trailblazers locker room. His much improved outside shooting will be a big asset for OCU this year.

Outlook

The 2011-12 Ohio Christian University Trailblazers will be a balanced team with more athleticism, more depth, more experience, and more size than last year’s team. The first semester schedule will be a great test as the Blazers hit the road against top ranked teams in the NAIA and NCAA Div. II. "With our new players integrating so quickly with our returning core of players, we are excited about the possibilities for this year," said Coach Christopher. "If all of the pieces come together as planned, this could be the best Ohio Christian team that has ever been put on the floor."